Deuteronomy 6:4-9: [Moses is preaching,] "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD Your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your hear. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sing on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."
Thursday, July 26, 2018
I grew up in a house where we had two gathering rooms. The first room was the Living Room. It was the more formal of the two. It also was the room where we had special guests gather as well as big family functions, like Christmas. The second was the Family Room. It was more intimate, it had the fireplace and the TV set. It was for the immediate family. What I now see as interesting is, the "Family Bible," you know the one, sat on the coffee table in the Living Room. I guess it was for the guests who came to our house for them to see that we were a Bible based family.
The Word is for display, for people to come and see. It is ALSO for usage. We use it to:
Teach our Children:
The group, "Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young" wrote and performed a song, "Teach Your Children." It's about not only passing down knowledge and wisdom from father to son. It is also leading them to grow. What Moses shared with the nation of Israel, and is sharing with us, is to pass on the wisdom and knowledge of God that is His Word. Teaching our children is about nurturing them in the love of God. It is also about feeding them and growing them also so that they don't just retain the Word. It's about them doing the Word of God.
It's not only about the children. For fathers, along with mothers, to teach their children, they need to be taught as well. In the same song by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young mentioned above, there is a line that says, "Teach your parents, well..." Children are not the only ones in the household that need the teaching of God. Parents need to know the Word of God so that we will share that same Word with our families. It is NOT, "Do as I say, not as I do." We, as the parents, need to live according to the Word if we expect the children to live according to the Word. Or in other words, to...
Show Our God:
That's why we have the Church and pastors and teachers. The Church also has the Word of God in her house, painted on the walls, posts, and doors. The Church has the Word of God in the hearts and lives of those who are a part of her. We equip the faith with the Word. We encourage the hope with the same Word. We do it so the Church engages the world with the love of God that comes from the Word.
It's about living the Word of God at home as well as in our daily lives. It's about, as I like to call it, living the DiscipleLIFE.
We show our God by what is displayed in our houses. We let people know that the Word of God is an integral part of lives. AND living the Word of God, living the DiscipleLIFE, is equally important. James tells us that we show our faith and life by living it out, not just talking about. So it's NOT "Do as I say, not as I do." It is NOW, "Live what I say, Live what I live. I live the Word of God."
Dear God, lead me to live Your Word out more fully, Amen."
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Acts 17:6-7: And when they [the Jews of Thessalonica] could not find them [Paul and Silas], they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, "These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus."
Why were the people being so negative to Paul and Silas' message about Jesus? They did not agree with the message of Jesus being the Christ, the Son of God who takes away the sins of the world. They did not agree that Jesus was the King of kings and Lord of lords. So their response was, negative. And what are other responses to the message. They are:
Apathy or Ambivalence:
If someone doesn't like what you have to say, they can get hostile. They can haul you off to court for slander. That's what the Jews did to Jason when they couldn't find Paul or Silas. You can get into "shouting matches," trying to win the argument, convincing someone that your point is the right one. Yet what happens today, more often than not is apathy or ambivalence. It seems today that many, no, a lot of people seem not to care what you say, especially when it's about Jesus. They turn a deaf ear. They don't care, now. They will care, at the end, whether they responded with anger or apathy or ambivalence, when they are standing before the judgment seat of Jesus and Jesus declares them, "Guilty" and sentences them to eternity in hell.
Now here's the Good News. What if you responded to the message with:
Repentance and Joy:
The Message of Jesus leads us to repent. Repent means to turn 180 degrees away from the life that leads to sin and death and toward the life that leads to forgiveness and life. Repentance the realization that I have sinned and have fallen short of the will and ways of God. Repentance leads to confessing and saying, "I am guilty of sins. I am truly sorry. God, please forgive me." And God, who is faithful and just will forgive you of all of your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. And then the joy kicks in. Then the realization of the new life that the King of kings and Lord of lords gives. That will, and does, lead to a grace filled life today and a celebration filled life forever.
This is the response to the Message that the Church and all Christians want people to have. We want all people to know the truth that sets people free. We want all people to know Jesus, believe in Jesus, and follow Jesus.
Dear God, lead us to share the message more fully, hoping that more respond to it with Repentance and Joy, Amen.
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
John 15:26-27: [Jesus is saying,] "But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning."
This week's blogs are about facing up to the challenges of being Christians in today's society. And our society today is anti-Church, anti-Christianity, and anti anything else that we stand for. And today we have the words of Jesus Himself that both equip us for the days ahead as well as encourage our faith with hope and strength to engage the world ahead. As we look at our verses today, let examine:
I had the privilege of sharing time with a member of our congregation who went through some very tough challenges last week. He talked, and I listened. At that time, I considered myself a helper for him because he needed to share AND to know that he wasn't alone in this struggle.
We cannot go it alone in this world. It will drive us crazy. We are designed to be in community. Especially for Christians, we are part of a community of believers in Jesus. And Jesus sent to us the Helper, the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, to equip us from His Word with Jesus, to encourage our hope in the promise of God of life with Him and to be with us in our engaging the world. He is the...
The Holy Spirit bears witness to us about Jesus and His life that He gave to us. Everything that the Holy Spirit tells us is directly from the Father. The Holy Spirit testifies about Jesus through the Word. And the Holy Spirit inspired men to write their witness, or testimony, about God and His action in the lives of His people. It is totally true and the written Word of God contains no error.
And the Holy Spirit continues to inspire us through the same Word to witness, or testify, all about Jesus and what He did. We are His witnesses to all that He did. We bear witness, or testify, because He was, and is, with us from the very beginning. Our task is to take to the world what the Holy Spirit is telling us about Jesus.
He is the center of everything. He is the life, salvation, and grace. Jesus is the one, the ONLY one, who forgave the sins of all mankind of every age. Jesus died to free man from sin and cleanse mankind from all unrighteousness. Jesus rose to bring life and immortality to light; to you. When you believe in Him, you have life.
And this life is a full and rich life. It is full of grace and truth. Jesus will confront you about your sin and sinfulness. Jesus points out our sins so that you will ask Him to forgive you. And when you confess your sins to God, He, who is faithful and just and right, WILL, AND DOES, forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. That is the sure and certain promise we have. Believe it. Share it.
Dear God, thank You for Jesus and thank You for the Holy Spirit. Through them, we have life and share that life with others.
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Mark 10:13-16: And they were bringing children to Him that He might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, He was indignant and said to them, "Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it." And He took them in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands on them.
Why are children great? Does anybody know why? Is it because they're "cute" and they do things that make adults go, "Aww?" Is it because there is no distrust in children? Supposedly, that is ingrained in them by adults. Is it because children are innocent and that there is a freedom about them?
What makes children, as well as adults, great is this.
The Kingdom of God:
What is the Kingdom of God? It is simply people who trust God who are saved by Jesus' blood shed for them, and who are disciples, ones who walk the walk and talk the talk of following Jesus. The Kingdom of God is made up of people who have God as their King BOTH on earth AND in heaven. The Kingdom of God is people of ALL races, ALL genders, and ALL ages, children included. And the Kingdom of God is built upon Jesus and what He did for people. He is what makes the Kingdom of God great and the people who are in it, great.
Then this begs the question. How does one get into the Kingdom of God? That answer is simple, too. You are to believe in Jesus and what He did for you. That is the blessing of Jesus.
The Blessing of Jesus
Why do you think Jesus blessed the children? Was it because of the reasons mentioned above? Why did Jesus tell the adults that they would not get into the Kingdom of God "like a child?"
So, in order to enter the Kingdom of God, do we need to be innocent and trusting? Yes. Can we just start trusting and be innocent and "cute?" No.
Here is a reality check for us. Children are not always "cute." They are not always innocent. The are not always trusting. Children are sinners. Children have temper tantrums. Children are selfish. If you're a parent, you know this.
So why did Jesus bless them? Because they NEED His blessing. They need His salvation. They need His forgiveness and life. And so do you.
Jesus blessed you, too. You are a child of God, just older. You need the forgiveness of Jesus. Jesus gave His life as a ransom for you, to buy you back from sin and death. And that is His blessing. And His blessing makes you great.
Dear God, continue to remind us of Your blessing of life through Jesus, Amen.
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Deuteronomy 4:6-8: [Moses is sharing with the Nation of Israel,] "Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.' For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call upon Him? And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this las that I set before you today?"
What makes a nation great? What makes people great. Is it fame? Is it power? Is it wealth? These can be by-products of greatness. Yet these are not the things that make people great. What makes people great is:
Moses is sharing God's Word, laws, and rules with the nation of Israel just before they were to enter the land promised to them by God. For God's Word, His Law, His rules, His grace, and His mercy make the people great...
When they put them into practice. So we have to ask the question. What makes us a great people? From where does our greatness come? What will cause the people around us comment, "There is a great people."
Our greatness comes from the wisdom and knowledge that God gives to us through the Word. God's Word is the source. His Law clearly shows how off the mark we really are. God's Law causes us to fall to our knees in fear, exclaiming to God, "I have sinned against You in my thoughts, through my words, and by my actions. I don't deserve to be called Your son (daughter). I cannot lift my eyes up to You because I am unworthy. Please forgive me. I rely on the work of Jesus, His life, death, and resurrection. I am repentant and contrite."
And God through His Word tells us, "My child, because of Jesus, you are forgiven. Rise and walk and live according to My ways; My grace, My mercy, and My forgiveness. Forgive as I have forgiven you. Walk the path of life I am laying out in front of you. Life the new life that I gave you." THIS IS the knowledge and wisdom of God that makes you a great people.
Jesus says, "Where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am with them" What makes us a great people is that we KNOW and BELIEVE that Jesus is with us. We are a great people because of Jesus. So, I have to ask. Do you know it and believe it?
Is your day consumed by decisions that you make, acting and reacting to the situations at hand? Are you doing things without the awareness that Jesus is with you? Are you going through life without realizing that God is wanting to walk with you?
Is this helping you to realize that greatness is defined by God being with you? Are you more fully realizing that Jesus is in your life? I hope so. Because know this: Jesus is with you. His body and blood, broken and shed, was given to you and forgave you of all your sins. Believe and use that belief in Jesus to be the source of your life, your decisions, and your acting and reacting. It is His righteousness that also makes you a great people.
Are you right in all that you do? Of course not. Are you right in more than half of what you do? Maybe. Are you right is less than half of what you do? Maybe. Are you right none of the time? No, you're not never right. So are you considered great because of the right things that you do?
According to the world and its' standards, maybe. According to God, NO. What makes you great is not your right-ness. It is God's righteousness in you.
God is righteous. He is perfect. You are not. Through Jesus, and what He did for you, God bestows His righteousness to you. He gives it freely because of Jesus, His life, His death, and His resurrection. God's righteousness is a gift that leads you into forgiveness, mercy, peace, comfort, and joy. What makes you a great people is His righteousness being lived out through you.
Dear God, lead us to live in Your Word, know You are with us, and live in Your righteousness. Let the people around us see You through us, Amen.
Monday, July 16, 2018
Romans 10:11-13: For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing His riches on all who call on Him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
We love God's Word in Action. It is THE ONE medium that communicates the work of God in you. The Word simple tells us:
God through the Holy Spirit reaches out to you in order to give to you a gift. I'll tell you what the gift is later. For now, know this: God calls out to you through His Word. It doesn't matter what you ethnicity is, or your gender, or your age. God calls out to you for one MOST IMPORTANT THING.
The gift that God wants you to have is salvation. Salvation from what? Salvation from yourself and your sins. You may, or may not, realize this. YOU ARE STUCK IN A RUT. The rut is sin. Sin simply means to miss the mark of obeying the Law of God perfectly. You and I will never do the Law of God perfectly. It is impossible. Human nature cannot please God, will not know God, and will not be like God. It cannot happen. That is sin. Without Jesus, you are stuck in the rut of sin. And you will be forever in hell without God.
So what gift does God give? God gives salvation from sin through what Jesus Christ for you, on you behalf. Jesus Christ, Son of Man and Son of God, is the ONLY perfect man capable for fulfilling God's Word perfectly. Jesus did to bestow His perfect obedience to you. Jesus is also the perfect sacrifice of body and blood that was broken and shed so that you would be forgiven and saved. Through Jesus you now have a new life. So God called you so that you would know and receive the salvation that God gave to you through Jesus and what He did. SO...
It's a simple action, really. Believing is an act of trust, faith, and acceptance. God has laid out salvation. Jesus is the perfect obedience. Jesus is your salvation from your sin. He is the way out of your rut. Jesus died in order to lift you up out of darkness into His marvelous light. Jesus rose to give to you the promise of new life both now and forever. This is what happens when you believe.
God, You are awesome and great, mighty to save abounding with steadfast love. We sin a lot. It's the rut that we're born into. It's the rut in which we're stuck. We confess that we are sinful and that we need your salvation. And thank You, for give it us. We are eternally grateful for all You have done for us. Lead us to believe in Your salvation more fully and to what in Your ways. We pray in the name of Jesus, Amen!
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
The Word of God:
John 1:1-2, 9-14: In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. ... The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world did not know HIm. He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him. But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
From the Beginning
The Word of God formed the world and caused it to come into being. The Word of God didn't start the world with "pond scum" which then became a frog which then became a lizard which then became... The Word of God spoke and IT HAPPENED. The sun, the moon, the stars, our earth and everything in it started with "a word." The Word of God is THAT POWERFUL. And we are the crown jewel of The Word's Creation.
The Light of God
At the same time, he's also known as "The Light of the World." The Light of the World shines over all people and the whole creation. We can't hide from the Light no matter what. We can try. Why would we hide from the Light? It's simple. We are sinful people. Sinful people try to stay outside of the Light's view. Why? Because we know, deep down, that the Light does not approve and condone what we think, do, and say. So for those of us who believe in the Word of God and live in the Light of God, we stand before God and humbly confess our sins. We ask God, "Will you please forgive me?" And the Word of God and the Light of God says, "I will. I died so that you will live. I was crucified and took upon myself the Father's punishment for sin so that you won't have to. And I rose to life to give you life both now and forever to live with me in the Light and the Word.
He's Jesus: Who Else?
And Jesus is BOTH the Word AND the Light. Jesus is the one who became flesh like you and me and lived as one of us yet without sin. That happens because He is God. So when we see Jesus, we see the Father in all His glory.
So, instead of hiding from Jesus, come to Him when He calls you out of the darkness into His marvelous light. Jesus, You are awesome because You are the Word and the Light, Amen!
Monday, July 9, 2018
Ephesians 4:17 & 24: Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. ... and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
The Radical Change
What does God want from us? Does He want us to continue the way we are going? Does God want us to continue to walk away from Him? Of course not. God wants us to walk with Him. In order for that to happen, a radical change in our lives needs to happen. We need to stop walking in the ways of the world. We need to let go of the sinful pleasures that people think are "okay" where God says, "NO!" There is a phrase that was once shared with me. It goes, "Bobbing along on the cosmic sea of life." I interpret that to mean, 'Do what ever feels good for you. All is good." God's point is this: if you want life and to live it fully, set aside the things of the world and live the that I have set up for you. Live a life of grace, mercy, peace, love, and service."
How That Takes Place
ONLY God can make that change in you. God creates in us a tension. We first know that the ways of the world may lead to pleasure and "fun." Yet they don't lead to life. We begin to see that there is something more in life. We also begin to realize that God's life for us is the life that we're missing. That leads us to repentance and confession. We declare to God that the life we were living is missing the mark. We ask God to forgive us and point us in His direction.
The Life Change
And when we believe that Jesus' death forgave our sins, that Jesus took away our sins and started us on the new path, we then put on the new person. This person is connected to God. Because of Jesus, we now have a life previously unavailable. We now have the life that God originally intended for us. And it is all because of Jesus and what He did.
Is This What You Want?
Do you want this radical change in your life? Do you sense that something is missing? Then try this. Begin with prayer, asking God to redirect your life toward His. Tell God that you want the forgiveness of sins and new life given to you by Jesus. Ask God the Holy Spirit to renew your life and start you on God's road. Then contact me. We can talk about where you can go from there.
Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Luke 17:15:19: Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving Him thanks. Now was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, "Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner? And He said to him. "Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well."
The Healing Power of Jesus:
Ten men were wandering around Judea. They were homeless because of their disease. They had leprosy. They had to isolate themselves from the families AND their communities. They had to wander around picking up scraps on which to live, crying out, "Unclean" so that no one would come near them.
Then Jesus walked by them. How and where they knew about Jesus, no one knows. What we do know is, Jesus healed them. All ten men ran to the Temple in Jerusalem to show themselves to the the Priests to be declared, "Clean" so that they could finally go home.
Faith that Noticed:
One of the ten, noticed that he was healed. He stopped. He observed. He believed. He returned. He praised. He was sent off.
How often do we notice? How often do we "take stock" of the situation? How do we respond by means of faith? These are questions that you and I have to wrestle with.
And when you notice, what is the next step?
We come to the feet of Jesus, the "author and perfecter of our faith." We come and praise Jesus for all that He has done. I think it would be good for all Christians, you and I included, to spend more time on our knees in humble praise because of the salvation we received by means of Jesus' body broken and blood shed. I think that it is good for us, you and I included, to spend time faithfully thanking God for Jesus. It's time to see the healing and restoration of our lives that God has done and come to worship Jesus.
Come and See:
If you're in the Huntsville/Walker County area, come and see. Come and thank Jesus in humble praise. Come this Sunday. We have Sunday School at 9:15am. We have worship at 10:30am.
Monday, July 2, 2016
Revelation 19:6-8: Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give Him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with line linen, bright and pure"
In our loving Jesus, we express our faith through praise and adoration. On what is it based? It is because of God, pure and simple. We praise and adore God because of His reign in our lives that is based upon the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Let's say the same thing this way. What did Jesus do? He, like the sacrificial Lamb of the Passover, was killed and His blood was shed and His body broken so that our sins are forgiven. Every sin, the original sin into which we were born and the sins we commit, were, and are, forgiven by Jesus. When we believe this, it is our privilege and honor to worship Him and give to God the Father the glory He is due. God the Father set this up. He made it happen.
So through faith, we express our gratitude, love, and honor to God for binding us to Jesus. We are "bought and paid for." We are the Father's children as well as the "Bride of Christ." In worship we are declared "forgiven" by God through what Jesus did. The "Bridal dress" covers over the sins and we are declared pure and clean by the Father. The "Bridal dress" is the blood of Jesus.
So let us shout, "Hallelujah! The Lord our God the Almighty reigns." Father, lead our worship and praise of You. You are a great and awesome God. Thank You, for Jesus, Amen.
Pastor Robert Hemsath joined Faith Lutheran Church and School as the Senior Pastor in January 2017. Pastor Hemsath comes to FLC from Christ the King Lutheran Church in Waxahachie, TX. He has also served congregations in Aberdeen, ID and Pocatello, ID. He has been a Lutheran pastor for the past 20 years.